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The Balancing Act of Determining Discrimination

2016 May 17

The balancing act of determining discrimination

Multiple “religious freedom” bills are currently capturing the attention of state legislatures across the country. “Religious freedom” bills are proposed legislation that call for religious organizations, businesses, and individuals to be protected from penalties for declining to provide services to individuals whose lifestyle conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs.  After the Supreme Court decision in 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage, these bills are particularly pertinent for those who, due to their religious beliefs, feel that they cannot provide their services to LGBTQ events concerning marriage. As a result, state legislatures and their constituents are facing the question of how they should balance the rights of people of faith and those of LGBTQ people.

The pressure to strike this balance has not been isolated to this year alone. In 2015, after passing SB 101, a bill that prohibited the state from “burdening a person’s exercise of religion,” the Indiana legislature clarified a month later with SB 50 that SB 101 does not authorize a “provider” to refuse an individual on the basis of the individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This event foreshadowed the legislative competition that was to come after the 2015 same-sex marriage decision, with churches and LGBTQ groups vying for the protection of those they represent.

Introduced in January 2016, Georgia HB 757 proposed to authorize a religious official or organization to decline to perform a ceremony or provide a service that went against their religious beliefs. The bill passed both the House ...

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VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in Mississippi

2014 October 27

 Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy at VoteSmart.org, giving Mississippi voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Three of the congressional candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test. 

Bipartisanship – Topped with Cheese and Baked at 350, for About 45 Minutes

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We here at Project Vote Smart often lament the lack of civility in Congress and in state legislatures across this nation.

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There is one issue that only pops up every decade with noticeable consequences, and that issue is redistricting.

Candidates Running in 2011 Lack Courage

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“It shouldn’t take courage for a politician to complete a survey regarding positions on issues. Yet seemingly it does.” – South Bend Tribune

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